Understanding data to find new pathways

The National Church Life Survey (NCLS) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data provide a wealth of information to the community, which churches can use to help guide them in strategic decisions.

Rev David Kriel, Mission Planner for the Uniting Church WA, and Rev Dr Elizabeth Raine, a past member of the NCLS Board of Governors and the NCLS Research Committee, will lead two  workshops in October: Understanding your congregation using NCLS data and Understanding your community using Census data.

Elizabeth said that NCLS data is a great tool for congregations  to understand their gifts and how to use them to connect with their local community. Not only can NCLS provide congregation profiles, but they can also provide information that is specific to the community around them. Continue Reading

Calls for peace and safety for Rohingyan people

According to the United Nation’s Refugee Agency the UNHCR, there are now over 412,000 Rohingya refugees estimated to have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August. This is a massive humanitarian crisis in our region and according to Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, a situation requiring the urgent attention and action of world leaders.

The Moderator joined with a number of faith leaders on Saturday 16 September on the steps of Parliament House to add his voice for peace in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has earned a Nobel Peace Prize for her work supporting democratic reforms for her people, so we know the capacity and willingness to work for peace is present – we now urge her to stand up for the Rohingyan people too. All people, no matter their ethnicity or religion deserve human rights,” Steve said.Continue Reading

From the Archives: Thriving at School

This year the Uniting Church in Australia celebrates its 40th anniversary. Throughout 2017, Revive will feature significant events in the life of the church during that time. This edition, we focus on Uniting Church WA schools.

At the time of Union, five schools became part of the Uniting Church WA network. Methodist Ladies’ College, Penrhos College, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Scotch College and Wesley College were all in operation many years before the Uniting Church formed. These schools have rich traditions and have celebrated many milestones and new initiatives.

Since Union, the Uniting Church WA has opened three schools. Continue Reading

Youth group building intergenerational relationships

Arising out of a need in the congregation, the Maylands Mt Lawley Uniting Church Youth Group began in February 2016. After a year of being in operation, it is a much loved activity of the church.

Rev Kim Francis, Minister at Maylands Mt Lawley Uniting Church, co-ordinates the Youth Group alongside her son, Joel Francis, and Liz Lee, a member of the congregation, with the help of other parent volunteers. The group has about ten members, with around six attending each week. Some are members of the congregation, who also bring along friends.

Each Sunday, from 12noon–2.00pm, young people in years 6–12 share food, activities and discussion. Sometimes the group meet at the church, other times they head out and about. Outings have included activities like badminton, mini golf, kayaking, rock climbing and sailing.

Once a term they hold a cooking competition, and every week they enjoy a simple, but varied lunch together. Occasionally, they also meet with other youth groups from The Billabong, Mt Pleasant and Nedlands Uniting Churches, and they have worked through the Alpha Youth Film Series, a course designed to create conversations for young people exploring life, faith and meaning. Continue Reading

First in Perth: UnitingCare West opens homeless shelter on Saturdays

Through UnitingCare West’s Winter Appeal, enough funds have been raised to turn the lights on at Tranby on Saturdays for the first time, on 15 July. Funds won’t last the year yet, so initially only core hours and services, including a free hot breakfast, showers, clothing, groceries and support from experienced staff, are offered from 7.00–10.00am on Saturdays.

With no sheltered Saturday morning services available in Perth for the homeless community, UnitingCare West made it their mission this winter to offer services to those most in need. Tranby, in  East Perth, offers free breakfast, shower facilities, support services and a warm venue to the homeless community. As a mission based organisation, all of UnitingCare West’s work is person-centered: starting with the individual, and building programs and supports around their needs. Working where others don’t, UnitingCare West deliberately researches needs and implements  solutions, where it finds that individuals are falling through the cracks.Continue Reading

New directions for Uniting Church WA

Building on work done in 2014 and 2015, as well as this year by Rev David de Kock, General Secretary of the Uniting Church WA, members of the Uniting Church Synod of WA will have an  opportunity to engage with the new Synod Strategic Plan at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Synod of Western Australia this September.

In June, a Strategic Advisory Group, including members from Uniting Church WA schools, agencies and congregations, gathered to offer feedback on the plan before it is presented to the Synod meeting for final evaluation.

The Strategic Plan recommends that the church accomodate localised Centres for Mission, which will establish one place as a resourcing centre for several nearby congregations. These Centres for Mission will act like a Uniting Church hub, creating more support and resources for new activities. The plan also incorporates a three-year roll-on budget, which will provide more forward planning than our current one-year budget. Continue Reading

What ‘Makes you Wonder?’

The new Makes You Wonder app puts a program developed by Rev Dr Ian Robinson, while on beach mission, into the hands of people in their busy lives.

Ian said the materials were originally designed for “people being people and talking to each other about what was on their hearts. And if you open your heart to somebody, they meet the Jesus who lives there.

“Makes You Wonder is a resource which helps people connect with their communities and their world. The overall theme is to help people find their voice, with their own faith, in their own world.  It doesn’t ask people to run more programs, but put this kind of authenticity into the people you already are,” said Ian. Continue Reading